We’ve reached a point where a bachelor’s degree is the standard. Advanced degrees are on the rise which has resulted in more masters and doctoral degrees than ever before. Like anything else in life, grad school isn’t the best choice for everyone, but it can be difficult to determine if it’s for you if you don’t have a clear career path. I’m sure you know how challenging school is and that it’s expensive. Here are a few solid reasons why grad school might be right for you:
Career change is a popular reason for pursuing advanced degrees these days. A lot of people looking to increase earning potential or simply follow their passions. Sometimes career change means you need additional training. If you’re considering a career change, you’ll want to do some research online and talk to someone established in that career to determine whether or not grad school is necessary. Remember, grad school isn’t cheap, there’s no reason to get in bed with Sallie Mae if you don’t have to.
One of the biggest reasons why I went to grad school is because I wanted to make myself more marketable. My bachelor’s degree is in Packaging Science, and while there are plenty of jobs in this field, it’s a niche degree with jobs in places I don’t want to live. Generally speaking, most STEM industries don’t require advanced degrees to advance. But I felt a masters degree would widen the scope of my job options for where I wanted to live. Getting a graduate degree in a different but related and more general discipline became my goal. If you have your eye on better job opportunities in your field and are considering grad school, do your research online and in person. Look at the job descriptions of the jobs you want and figure out if the required skills are ones best learned on the job over time or with another degree.
Required for Career
Depending on your career aspirations a masters or doctorate may be necessary. Obviously, this means you kinda have to know your end game. If you want to teach, do major research, be a dean, or chair a department, you can pretty much count on needing an advanced degree at minimum. As I mentioned earlier, bachelor’s degrees are the new normal so one way employers are filtering talent now is increasing the educational requirements. I’m seeing so many more positions these days requiring PhDs. Again, part of the battle here is defining your goals. Once you figure out what you want to be, you can figure out what’s required to achieve it.
Become a Subject Matter Expert
My masters is in materials science & engineering, so it provided deeper knowledge into how the materials I was using in packaging applications, their properties, and how they can be manipulated to achieve the function needed. Now I’m not saying an advanced degree automatically makes you a subject matter expert but it certainly puts you on a track to become one. In many cases, you’ll have a thesis or be doing research that’ll not only make you more knowledgeable but connect you with the best minds in the field. You are more marketable and valuable to an employer when you have expertise in an area. If I were to stay within R&D understanding how to manipulate material behavior without relying on external sources could save a company time and money. Lastly, the cool thing about being a subject matter expert is everyone wants your opinion and recommendations. You could consult full-time or on the side, publish in peer-reviewed journals, be invited to speak at conferences or be asked to weigh in on important related social issues.
Did you go to graduate school? Why did you decide to go? Comment down below and share with someone considering an advanced degree!